It’s tough being the runt of the litter, even when you’re successful. But, it’s all about perspective, and how you choose to use it will truly define you. Look at Khloe Kardashian for example — sure in her family she pales in comparison to her two sisters, but compared to the rest of us, she still has the net worth higher than most small towns. Jermaine Jackson is another example. He was never in the same solo stratosphere as Micheal or even Janet, yet, he was an accomplished artist who did have a number of top 30 hits and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance … I have never been nominated for a Grammy, nor has anyone I’ve ever known personally. Even Stephen Baldwin, while not half the talent that Alec nor William were and are, still has an IMDB citing over a hundred films he’s starred in, three he’s directed, and twelve he’s been a producer on. How many shows have you produced that made it to the big screen?

We bring up all these pseudo-black sheep as a preface to introduce you to the 2019 Toyota Avalon. You might not even have realized the Avalon was still being produced, and there is a small chance you might not have ever heard of an Avalon, despite it having been in production for nearly a quarter century. That’s because, as successful as the Avalon has been, it has been vastly overshadowed by its two sibling — the Corolla and Camry, both of which are among the best selling vehicles of all time, while the Corolla is actually the number one best seller of all time. Yet, the newest Avalon looks to make a name for itself yet.

Continuing with Toyota’s newest aesthetic motif of aggressive and angry looking vehicles, the Avalon sports a large geometrically shaped grill and front end, complimented by a chin spoiler and mean looking headlights that would make a Charger blush. The profile isn’t quite so in-your-face, with sloping C-pillars, and an actually very tame looking rear aside from twin dual-exhaust outlets. And if you’re thinking that it looks like a bigger Camry, essentially, that’s what it is — just don’t let the Avalon hear you say it. The 2019 version is actually also bigger than the car it replaces by 0.6-inches in length, a matching 0.6-inches in width, and actually sits a full inch lower with a 2.0-inch longer wheelbase. The nearly 196-inch long Avalon is a big car, and a true five passenger vehicle.

THE TOYOTA AVALON

Under the hood, there are two engine setups to choose from. There is the traditional 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine that puts down a sizable 301-horsepower and respectable 267 lb-ft of torque backed by a true eight speed automatic transmission, or a hybrid setup that combines a 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 that makes 176-horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque plus a 118-horsepower electric motor (with a combined total of 215-horsepower), and that combo is backed up by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Both combinations route power to the front wheels with no AWD situation on the horizon at the moment. Surprisingly, the hybrid premium in cost is only about a thousand dollars, while the weight premium is nearly negligible at less than a hundred pounds (for a total of 3600 pounds give or take that hundred) — which all makes a very strong case for going green. Although the EPA numbers for the gas-only engine are good at 22/32 city/highway mpg, they get embarrassed when compared to the hybrid’s 43/44 city/highway mic-drop.

Inside, the Avalon gets plenty of optional goodies like a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 7-inch dash display, push button start, fast charging USB ports, heads-up display, sequentially-firing turn signals, a 14-speaker 1,200 watt JBL stereo, and even real wood trim. Safety comes in the form of blind spot monitoring, full speed adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, emergency braking, and lane departure assist.

For a base price of just over $36,000, the 2019 Toyota Avalon shows us just why it’s been able to stay around since the Clinton administration. Sure, it doesn’t have the name recognition of its sibling whose name rearranges to spell ‘MY-CAR’, nor does it have the bragging rights of being the best selling car ever. But much like Khloe or Jermaine, or Stephen, the Avalon, in its own right has plenty of reasons to feel good about itself. A little perspective goes a long way, especially when some might call you the runt of the litter, others might just call you a success.